Having just delivered my first Mosaic programme, the Primary School Programme, and attended the graduation, I couldn’t have been prouder of the children or more pleased that I decided to be a part of it.
I applied to volunteer with The Prince’s Trust in 2015 as I thought it would be nice to mentor an individual to help them in their entrepreneurial adventures. I attended a course to find out more about The Trust and soon discovered that they offered so many different programmes and that there were all sorts of ways which I could use my skills to help others. What I didn’t expect was that I would gain so much from the experience!
I hadn’t gone to university in my teens but decided to undertake a full time degree as a ‘mature student’ and graduated in Education Studies in 2016. Children, education and the effects of poverty were all areas close to my heart and so I toyed with the idea of moving into a career as a teacher.
I realised that it wasn’t the path I wanted to take and decided to remain in Marketing. However, the skills that I learned during my degree were invaluable in all walks of life so I didn’t feel that the time (or money) invested was wasted.
When I stumbled across the Mosaic programmes at The Prince’s Trust it just felt like the perfect way to utilise much of the knowledge that I gained from my degree and to satisfy my own desire to improve outcomes for the next generation.
I was lucky enough to be selected to attend a Mosaic training course in Leeds where Diane, the trainer, was totally inspirational. I left feeling empowered and enthusiastic! Two weeks after training I found myself at a Primary School in Leeds planning our first session. We were really lucky as there were five volunteers helping at the school and the school liaison was very experienced in delivering the programme as well. As a group of volunteers we got on really well and were guided through the process by Alison and Gahzal, who had both volunteered with Mosaic previously.
The children that we worked with were fabulous: they were polite, engaged and interested in everything that we did. We tried to keep the sessions fun and interactive. Each week of the programme had a theme, such as role models and citizenship. Some children were less likely to offer their opinions but we soon worked out who needed more encouragement than others and who needed to be distracted while others had their chance to shine!
The biggest thrill for me was seeing the children at their graduation ceremony at the end of the programme. I hadn’t realised that there would be other schools at the graduation but there were probably 90 children at Leeds Trinity University on the day. They all looked fantastic in their gowns and mortar boards! I was bursting with pride as I sat down and looked at their faces and those of their family members in the audience too. We listened to some motivational speakers and then the children had their turn at the front.
I was blown away when every single member of our group stood in front of the entire audience and delivered a few lines. To be honest, it wouldn’t have mattered what they said, the fact that they were brave enough to do it was amazing. The cherry on the cake was that they described beautifully what they had learned from the course and thanked each of us too.
When I started on my journey with The Prince’s Trust I honestly thought that I would just be giving something back to others. How naïve was I; I have gained just as much from the journey as I have given and every day I count myself lucky to be a part of such a fantastic organisation.